Recap of Chairman Mendelson’s Community Meeting re: Academic Recovery Planning (Wards 6, 4 and 2)

Thank you for taking time out of your evening (along with fellow Ward 6, Ward, 3, and Ward 2 families) to share your ideas with Chairman Mendelson and his staff about what an Academic Recovery Plan might look like for DC.  There were some clear themes that emerged:

  • schools need to be funded at higher levels than in the past to support more mental health professionals, more social workers, more small group instruction staff;
  • schools need autonomy to make decisions on how to invest in programs that will support their school communities;
  • schools can’t be expected to do it all, and other city agencies and non-profits have important roles to play in the Academic Recovery Plan, e.g., DPR, out-of-school time providers;
  • repairs need to be made to school buildings, and creative opportunities need to be pursued to create more space, e.g., outdoor learning environments
  • teachers and parents need to know soon what the plan is for Term 4;
  • getting as many students who want to go back to in-person learning back into schools (or alternative spaces) as soon as possible is important to academic recovery;
  • no to high-dose tutoring and yes to more joyful learning and enrichment: and
  • transparency, making information easy to access, and communication are essential for a successful Academic Recovery Plan.

If you have other ideas that you didn’t get to share this evening, please reach out to Christina Setlow and LeKisha Jordan.

Published by Suzanne Wells

I work at EPA, and have a son and a daughter. I commute just about everywhere by bike. I like to volunteer in my community, and to knit.

10 thoughts on “Recap of Chairman Mendelson’s Community Meeting re: Academic Recovery Planning (Wards 6, 4 and 2)

  1. Thanks for posting the notes from this meeting. I’m curious why the group gathered felt that high-dose tutoring was not needed / a bad idea. Among educators, it is considered a gold standard intervention for students needing extra support. It’s expensive, but I am wondering why it is being ruled out as a measure to advocate for that would be in the best interest of students? Small group tutoring is also, I will mention, not an antithesis to joyful learning and enrichment—both can happen simultaneously!

  2. Thanks Ruey. This is helpful to learn what others think about high-dose tutoring.

  3. What was the reason for the group coming up with “no high-dose tutoring” ? I’m truly curious to understand what parent concerns are.

  4. I think people want academic recovery to be thoughtful and joyful for students. People were concerned about the stress students have been put under this past year. I think people associate the term “high-dose” tutoring with extended day school, focus on drilling students in math and ELA without art, music, library, etc. There was lots of support for small group instruction during the school day. Intensive instruction for struggling students can be done in a joyful way, and several people talked to this point. Maybe it is more a misunderstanding of what “high-dose” tutoring means or maybe “high-dose” tutoring needs to be called something else so it isn’t misunderstood.

  5. Ah, that makes sense. The term “High-Dose Tutoring” itself certainly sounds scary and unpleasant! But what it actually means is one or two students meeting 2-3 times a week during the school day to focus on the specific needs of those students. It is amazing how quickly a student can progress with this kind of targeted, individualized instruction. The other benefit for post-pandemic students is that it would create the opportunity for students to have a sustained, personalized relationship with another caring adult. For all kids this is important, but for adolescent, in particular, who are looking for role models and examples of adulthood outside of their own parents/guardians, this kind of mentor/mentee relationship can be transformative. This kind of tutoring could be accomplished with retired teachers, CityCorp Groups, corporate volunteer groups etc. with the right training and commitment.

    I hope that parents will not come away with the wrong impression of high-dose tutoring, which is precisely what many of our students will need. Families with means are able to hire tutors for this purpose, but others in the public school system should also have access to this kind of academic and socio-emotional support.

  6. One final note: there is a difference between small group instruction ( normally >3 students per teacher) and this high-dosage tutoring ( 1-2 students per teacher ). The research shows that the ability to effectively differentiate instruction to individual students drops steeply when there are 3 or more students in the group–even for trained, seasoned teachers. To rely on a volunteer corp composed of less/un-experienced teachers, the teacher to student ratio would need to stay at 1:1 or 1:2 to be maximally effective.

  7. This is all very informative.

    Do you know if Chairman Mendelson and his staff know what high-dosage tutoring is? I don’t recall them explaining what high-dosage tutoring is or offering any explanations when people raised concerns.


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